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Understanding Deployment Health Assessments
In order to perform at your best, it’s important for service members to be physically and mentally fit.1 To improve the overall health fitness of the U.S. military, the Defense Department launched a three-step health assessment for personnel deploying around the world. Taken both before and after deployment, the assessment helps you better understand your physical and psychological health through all deployment phases. It allows you to be proactive in improving and maintaining resilience during the full deployment cycle. The assessment is not just completing a form. It is also an opportunity to see your health care provider and discuss any concerns you may have as you transition through the deployment process.
This article will help answer questions about the deployment health assessment process, including why it is important and how it can lead you to resources that can help you stay physically and mentally fit.
What is the deployment health assessment program?
The deployment health assessment program was created to strengthen the fitness and well-being of the U.S. military. The assessments help health care providers support the care of service members by identifying their needs before, during and after deployment.1 If a health concern is identified, such as PTSD, depression, or other conditions, a health care provider can direct you to proper care resources.
Using resilience skills in your everyday life can help you handle stress experienced during the deployment cycle and reintegration process. Read the campaign article, “Build Resilience to Maximize Mission Readiness,” for tips on psychological resilience.
Who has to complete the health assessments?
Service members have to complete the pre- and post-deployment health assessments if you are:
- Deployed active duty
- Deployed member of the National Guard or reserve
- Deploying outside of the U.S. to a location without a medical treatment facility (MTF) for more than 30 days
You may still need to take deployment health assessment if you deploy for less than 30 days, depending on the combatant commander, service commander or commander holding operational control.1
What are the parts of the deployment health assessment program?
The three-part program includes the pre-deployment health assessment, post-deployment health assessment (PDHA) and the post-deployment health reassessment (PDHRA). Figure 1 shows the entire deployment health cycle and when each part takes place.
What happens at the health assessments?
Pre-Deployment Health Assessment
Post-Deployment Health Assessment (PDHA)
Post-Deployment Health Reassessment (PDHRA)
Why do I need to do all three assessments?
Completing all three assessments provides an opportunity to review your physical and psychological health before and after a deployment.3 Assessments are given at all stages of the deployment cycle to make sure that you maintain good health. Through assessments, health professionals can help you identify and provide care for any changes, challenges or concerns you may be facing. Identifying health concerns early can help you cope with concerns that could – if ignored – negatively affect your deployment status, career or personal health.5
Why is it important that I provide honest feedback?
Early action greatly assists successful treatment, and can benefit you, your family and your unit.
- Your family:
- Provide your family with peace of mind.
- Identify medical and support resources in your community to strengthen your family resilience.
- Your unit:
- Be fully mission-ready for your leaders, buddies and fellow warriors!
For more information about the deployment health assessment process or its phases, visit PDHealth. PDHealth is part of the Deployment Health Clinical Center (DHCC) and shares information on deployment health and health care for service members, veterans, their families and health care professionals.
Reaching Out Is a Sign of Strength
If you’re feeling stressed about your deployment health assessments or psychological health, the DCoE Outreach Center is available at 866-966-1020 or through Real Warriors Live Chat. Trained health resource consultants are available for free 24/7 to help you find resources.
- Wingman Toolkit (Air Force)
- Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness
- Ready and Resilient (Army)
- Post-Deployment Health Reassessment
- Yellow Ribbon Reintegration
2 “Post-Deployment Health Reassessment Program – PDHRA,” Army National Guard G1 Personnel Gateway. Last accessed Sept. 09, 2014.
4 “Pre- and Post- Deployment health assessment process." (n.d.). Deployment Health Clinical Center.